Pre-Board Pals

Customer Service Programs - Medium Airport

To enhance the airport experience at Calgary International Airport (YYC) for passengers and staff, The Calgary Airport Authority (The Authority) and Pet Access League Society (PALS), officially launched its pet therapy program and partnership, Pre-Board Pals, on National Pet Day April 11, 2016.

The Pre-Board Pals Program provides an opportunity to relieve stress and provide comfort to passengers and airport staff members through hands-on therapeutic interaction with pets. On 90-minute shifts, therapy dogs and their handlers roam the air terminal building, visiting passengers, guests and staff during peak travel times every Thursday to Saturday. Priority is given to cancelled and delayed flights, long lines and areas undergoing construction.

The purpose of the Pre-Board Pals program is to create a positive and pleasant travel experience at YYC through these core values:
Provide comfort and airport information
Help reduce stress for passengers prior and post flights
Add a smile to passengers’ and staff’s day

Entry Statement

1. Project Goals: 

1. Position YYC as an enjoyable environment for its diverse passenger and employee base.

2. Inform audiences of the new program and proven benefits associated with dog therapy by using the following tools:
Organizing the launch event, inviting local media, airport staff and the public
Live tweeting during the event and on first shift
Filming and publishing via YouTube
Live broadcasting via Periscope

3. Increase awareness of all community engagement initiatives publicly using the following mediums:
Media advisory
Press release
Mezzanine and check-in screens
Monthly newsletter
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Periscope, YouTube

4.Work collaboratively with PALS in communication initiatives such as the launch event, social content and media relations activities.

2. Production: 

The Calgary Airport Authority has an in-house graphic design and communications team that is responsible for the majority of design collateral including the program’s mezzanine and check-in screen graphics, luggage tags, trading cards, posters, video and social media content. The non-digital elements of production were outsourced to an external partner to print.

A YouTube video was created using the Authority’s in-house videographer. This included a story board and final creation.

3. Evaluation: 

Overall, the Pre-Board Pals program has significantly enhanced the experience at YYC for many. Today, there are 43 dogs and volunteers dedicated to the program and so far, 180 volunteer hours were donated to enhancing the passenger experience.

Total of 835,763 impressions and 1,949 engagements on Twitter, Periscope, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn
YouTube video: 46 views within seven days
The launch attracted major news outlets and headliners in Calgary: CBC, CTV, Global, The Calgary Herald, City TV and 660 News
Many web pick-ups: MSN, Airport technology and Anna Aero
290 hits on Hot News, YYC Crew’s intranet, and 300 hits on the first shift announcement

4. Budget: 

All materials were paid for by The Calgary Airport Authority:
Volunteer vests: $1,269
Dog uniforms: $1,424 (sewn by an Authority employee)
500 luggage tags: $1,302
1,200 trading cards: $340
10 collapsible dog bowls: $56
1 Fetch GoPro harness: $96
Dog cake for the event: $486
150 branded cookies: $288
Event refreshments: $100

Total Cost: $5,361